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President Barroso Calls for a Transatlantic Economic Alliance

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso delivered a keynote speech on “New Transatlantic Partnership for Growth & Jobs” at a conference in New York on Friday. The event was organised by Bloomberg LP and the European American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) New York.

President Barroso took the opportunity to highlight the progresses made in the current situation in Cyprus, Ireland and Portugal: ” I’m very happy with the results of today’s Eurogroup meeting where the programme for Cyprus was confirmed and approved for all members of the euro area. I was also noting with satisfaction the agreement on the extensions of maturities for Ireland and Portugal, which will help those countries in their so far successful steps to re-enter the markets.”

Addressing the business community in New York, the President focused on the EU-US partnership’s ability to facilitate growth and improve employment possibilities. He underlined the long tradition and rich partnership between the EU and the US, which “has developed into the most prosperous and dynamic economic bond in the world ever and it still is, accounting for nearly half of global GDP and almost one third of world trade”.

The President underlined the potential benefits of a free trade agreement. Together, the EU and the USA account for more than half of the world economy, trading goods and services worth €2 billion daily. This agreement can bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (€119 billion a year) and the US (€95 billion a year).

Last February, President Barroso announced, together with President Obama, the launch of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and the US.

Mr. Barroso noted that the agenda for these negotiations is clear and mentioned questions such as conventional barriers to trade in goods, non-tariff barriers, global standards for business and public procurement. He pointed out that it is not possible to eliminate all regulatory divergences in one round.

“For that reason, we aim to negotiate what you could call a ‘living agreement’ – one that not only removes the main trading obstacles of the past, but that looks just as much towards the future: working on the prevention of regulatory barriers; establishing mechanisms that enable a further deepening of economic integration over time; enhancing cooperation for the development of rules and principles on global issues of common concern”, the President said.

According to President Barroso, “these negotiations can be the start of a new era” for trade liberalisation but most of all “they will reaffirm the global role and responsibility of both partners, which goes much beyond economics”.

Read the whole speech